The Puppet Portal Project was our first hospitals residency programme. In 2009 and 2010, children created puppets and shared their stories, performances and short films with peers in other hospitals via Áit Eile, an online live video-link facility developed by the Centre for Health Informatics at Trinity College, Dublin.
The project sought to help counter the isolation that children can feel when they are hospitalized by connecting them to a wider community in a shared creative conversation. Artists had the opportunity to share ideas and to work as part of a team as well as developing their own practice in a fascinating and challenging setting.
The Puppet Portal Project took place in 7 hospitals across Ireland and was recognised by the Neurological Alliance of Ireland (2010 Innovation Award nominee) and The Allianz Business to Arts Awards (2010 Best Use of Creativity, Highly Commended).
An independent evaluation by SpiralOrchard found that children on the Puppet Portal Project were happier and less bored as a result of taking part and that the puppetry reduced their sense of alienation in hospital.
Photos from the project can be found on Flickr.
Puppet Portal Symposium
‘Where are we now?’ – A symposium examining arts for children in hospital within the context of the Puppet Portal Project was hosted by Helium, in collaboration with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership, at The Ark, Dublin, on October 28th 2011. Documentation from this symposium can be viewed here.